Acquiring Aquaetas

A week later, back home in Winterfell, I received the documents regarding ownership of Aquaetas. Quin included a letter which thanked me again but was otherwise simply a description of the enclosed documents which I was to sign and return. There were no surprises here until the last sentence above his signature…

“I should also inform you of the news that Miss Dot has resigned her post with The Trust.”

Oy. I guess that didn’t go well. It’s really a shame to see Dot Macchi depart The Trust. I will miss her, she is the reason I am here! Well, who knows, maybe some time away from things…or persons… Of course, she did go on that sabbatical once before. Hmmm. Oh dear, maybe this is final.

I first met Dot and Quin here in Winterfell four years ago. Seems I have known them both much longer than that. That’s the way it is with Time in these worlds I travel.

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Aquaetas

I took the boat from the house in Kamar down to Selenitica in the morning, just as I always do when I stay here. As I began to climb the hill to make my way to the castle and my makeshift office, I could smell wood burning. Quin! He’s here!!

When I reached the top of the hill on Arrival Island, I could see the smoke coming from the chimney of Quin’s retreat. Finally!!

Instead of turning right toward the castle, I headed left to cross the bridge to Garden Island and walked to the bridge to Quin’s Island. As I passed through the gardens, I heard a voice calling.

“Mr. Whitfield — good morning!”

“Hello Quin!” I shouted back.

He met me halfway along the bridge and we shook hands and exchanged further greetings and went inside where Quin had prepared coffee for the two of us. Apparently, he had expected me.

“I hope you won’t mind, Mr. Whitfield, if I get straight to business? It is rather urgent,” he said as we took seats in the observatory and looked out at the rock islands of Selenitica and beyond to the Sky Tree towering over the waters and swamps of Tao.

“Please do.”

“Selenitica will return,” he said.

I admit, I almost did a double take…as we were sitting right there in Selenitica when he said it. Once in awhile even a veteran time traveller like myself can lose track of time and forget when he is and have to take a moment to get his bearings but this was not one of those times. So I didn’t do a double take. In fact, I didn’t even do a single take. I just sat there, blankly listening…as if nothing odd had been said…and hoped I would be able to decipher what he was talking about.

“While some questions remain and our efforts must be accelerated,” Quin went on, “there has been substantial progress.”

“Excellent,” I responded, figuring that was an appropriate response, substantial progress and all.

Quin went on to explain what he was referring to. In great detail. I know others complain he is usually rather light on the details, making it hard to figure out just what he is doing most of the time and why. But sometimes I’d like to change places with those people. It’s hard to get Quin to stay put for very long but when I have had the pleasure, he certainly has not been shy about giving me the details of whatever he is working on at the time. We seem to have a special bond, always have. So – when I can get Quin’s attention – I get more than my share of details.

But with Quin, the devil is in understanding the details.

A lot of it went right over my head. I’m just a simple explorer and time traveller, not a scientist nor a genius. But I listened closely, just the same. Anyway, Quin knew what he was talking about and that is all that really matters.

“…..So of course, you can clearly see our only option is to make some changes in this instance of Selenitica,” he concluded.

I nodded in agreement. I didn’t grasp what he meant but it didn’t really seem like there was a choice, so I just nodded. He kept talking and I kept nodding.

He kept referring to this instance of Selenitica and some other instance of it and — in what I hoped would be taken for the little joke that it was — the next time he referred to changes “in this instance of Selenitica,” I responded by saying, “For instance?”

Well, I thought it was funny. Not fall over and die funny, just lightly funny. Something to bring a little smile at approximately 7:30 in the morning while still on the first coffee. (Not to imply that I ever know what time it is here, just a guess.) But Quin took it as a straight question and went right on to answer it, “Well, the name for one,” he said.

“The name?”

“We certainly can’t have two Seleniticas at the same time, Mr. Whitfield!” he laughed as if I had made a joke. (I had but he was laughing at my second question rather than the first.)

“No,” I said, “we certainly can’t have that.”

“So you can see the problem?” he said.

Well no, not exactly. Actually I have no idea what we’re talking about. But I wasn’t going to say that.

“Yes,” I said. He smiled. I could see he was relieved.

I had to think fast to come up with something to say that would not only make sense to Quin but also help me find out what was going on here.

“What would you have me do?” I ventured.

“Oh, sir, it would not be appropriate for me to decide. It is really up to you.”

Great.

“But may I suggest?…”

“Oh, please do,” I interrupted, “feel free. I would be grateful for your advice on this matter.”

He smiled. “You might consider not only renaming Selenitica itself but this entire world, Evergreen, as a whole.” He paused. I nodded. “And use the new name for both.”

I nodded still again. It was becoming clearer now. If I have the gist of it, Quin has figured a way to “reconstitute” a previous incarnation of Selenitica…or some facsimile thereof, I think. Something truer to the original Selenitica – after which this one was named – or maybe it is the original…or a derivative…or…

Look, it doesn’t really matter whether I “get it” or not. There is going to be another place known as Selenitica and Quin apparently wants me to select a new name for this one. Okay, I can do that.

“I will begin thinking about a name today,” I said. He smiled. “How long are you here?” I asked.

“I must leave tomorrow,” he said

“Well, due to the urgent nature of this matter, I will have a new name for you by the end of the day,” I said, smiling and thinking our discussion had ended successfully.

But Quin’s smile was replaced by a more serious face. “Proper naming is quite important, Mr. Whitfield but the urgency in this case is in regard to something else,” he said.

“Oh.” This had the feeling of one of those “good news/bad news” conversations. Apparently, the name changing was the good news.

“There is the financial aspect, of course,” he said, trying to smile.

“Of course,” I said as I remembered the phrase from his telegram: ‘…SHOULD RESTRUCTURE OUR AGREEMENT RE AGES IN YOUR CARE…”

“In order to pursue my efforts to return Selenitica fully,” he went on, “I find myself, sadly, once again in need of funds. Substantial funds, I’m afraid.”

Uh-huh.

“And that is where I come in?” I asked.

“I do hate to ask for a…handout…especially when you have been so generous to The Trust all this time…” Quin said, “and so I will not ask.”

I looked at him, again blankly. I had no idea where he was going with this.

“Rather than asking you to sponsor these Ages, as you have been so kind to do for these past eighteen months….I was wondering…” he paused for the longest time,”…if you would like to…purchase them?”

“The Ages?”

“Yes.” He nodded.

Okay then, this wasn’t the bad news part. It was certainly from out of left field. Buy the Ages? Really? There’s a lot to consider there, for sure…but it’s not the bad news. Not by a long shot. Noooooo. The bad news part wouldn’t involve me at all, fortunately.

“What does Ms. Macchi think of this proposal?” I asked.

“I have not yet shared this with Miss Dot,” he answered quietly.

Yeah, I’ll bet. There’s your bad news right there, folks. And that is Quin’s problem.

Unless, of course, I see Dot first. Then it’ll be my problem. Or more correctly, it’ll be Quin’s problem that I will have to deal with.

Uh-uh. No way.

“Well, Quin, there is quite a bit to think about here,” I said as he nodded and sat quietly, waiting for me to continue, “but I will think on it – all of it – over the course of the day. And if you meet with me for supper tonight, I will have your answer ready by then.”

“Shouldn’t we discuss the financial aspect now?” he asked, a bit nervously.

“I don’t think that is necessary,” I said. “I’m sure we can work that out. My decision will not be based on that aspect but on the question of what is right for these Ages and whether I can fit that into my life at this time. That is what I must seriously consider.”

“Certainly sir, I understand. Six-thirty for supper? I shall make us a very nice stew.”

***

That evening over supper, I agreed to take ownership of the grouping of Ages that up to now was known as Evergreen — not ownership of the Ages themselves, I made this clear to Quin, for I would not be comfortable with that concept, but of the grouping, the collection. He understood and welcomed this approach.

I further agreed to rename the grouping and it’s prime region under one shared title. I submitted to Quin the name, Aquaetas.

When I said it aloud, Quin’s reaction was to look to his left and down for a moment as he thought it over. Then he nodded his head slightly as he stated, “From the Latin words for water and time…as in period of time or Age.” He smiled.

I had spent the day in my office in the castle and later at my house in Kamar, going through the small collection of reference books I have in each place. I wanted to find a name that I liked but that would have meaning for Quin as well, as his study-retreat will still be here – I insisted – even if he does not visit as often.

“I hoped you would like it,” I smiled as well. “I guess there must be some paperwork involved?” I said as I wanted to wrap up our evening and catch some sleep before timejumping back home in the morning.

“Nothing can be finalized until we speak with Miss Dot,” Quin said.

I looked at him with raised eyebrows. “I’ll be off to Winterfell in the morning,” I said.

He just nodded. I smiled. “Good luck with that,” I said.

***

Visit Aquaetas on Kitely

http://www.kitely.com/virtual-world/Danko-Whitfield/Aquaetas

Selenitica

 

Waiting For Quin

I have now read every book on the shelves of my retreat in Kamar. I had already brought all the paperwork up to date; corresponded with Mr. Zeplin; toured the Ages, toured them again; picked up the odd prim that I must have left there eons ago (I wanted to say “ages” ago but I’ve already used that joke more than once)…There was nothing else to do here.

Should I just go home to Winterfell now? And then have to make the trip back later? That would be a wasted effort. So I just sit here. Damn! I’m a time traveller – a man on the go! I enjoy just sitting around doing nothing when that is my choice but sitting around doing nothing because one has no control over the situation is another matter entirely.

I mixed a G&T while I considered the options, such as they are.

I have been here every day for nearly a month. Well, not every day. I’ve had to travel back and forth to Winterfell a couple of times and to Dankoville too. And there were a couple of side trips here and there, now and then. But I have been here often. Doing what I have done so many times over the past four years…

Waiting for Quin.

(I’ve been threatening to write a song with that title. It would be something to sing or whistle while I wait.)

 

Waiting for Quin,

When has he been?

Waiting for Quin once again.

 

When will he be in?

Shall I pour more gin –

While I sing the same old refrain?…

 

Waiting for Quin….

 

I put down my G&T and picked up the telegram and read it again.

EXCITING NEWS! BREAKTHROUGH! SHOULD RESTRUCTURE OUR AGREEMENT RE AGES IN YOUR CARE. MUST MEET!

“Must meet!” Yeah, sounds urgent there Quin. Real urgent.

 

Waiting for Quin

When has he been?

Waiting for Quin once again…

 

(whistles)

Something’s Happening… Where?

In my Winterfell office, going through the morning correspondence. A telegram from Quin made me drop everything…

EXCITING NEWS! BREAKTHROUGH! SHOULD RESTRUCTURE OUR AGREEMENT RE AGES IN YOUR CARE. MUST MEET!

I couldn’t begin to guess at what this breakthrough might be or why it would affect my work for The Trust but I was excited by Quin’s telegram just the same.

I would go straight to meet him in… ????? Where exactly?

I grabbed my coat and bag and headed for the door, nearly knocking over my assistant in the process.

“I’m off, Mr. Afterthought,” I said as I brushed passed him.

“Where to, sir?” he called after me as I opened the door.

“Oh….Evergreen…Devokan…somewhere around then,” I shouted.

I can imagine the look on his face.

I can imagine it because I’ve seen it before.

And that rolling of the eyes too.

 

Back To The Towers

There was definitely someone down there.

I stared through the field glasses for quite some minutes. I panned around Selenitica as it was the first time I had used these glasses. They’d been sent to me by an inventor, a Mr. Daubresse, who apparently was looking for an endorsement of some sort…probably so he could use it to acquire further funding for the development of the glasses. Hmmm. The jury is still out on that.

I returned to focus on the person or being that I’d been watching from my makeshift study in the castle.

He – I’m not sure why I was assuming it was a he – was across the way on Arrival Island, just sitting there, looking east. I didn’t notice when he arrived but I’d been watching him for about twenty minutes.

We get all kinds here in Evergreen. Explorers, scientists, historians, educators, all sorts of researchers, the occasional industrialist who leaves a business card and a note asking about mining rights, photographers, painters, tourists…and, apparently, aliens.

Well “he” definitely wasn’t from anywhere around here.

When I’m here, I try to walk a fine line between assisting visitors and leaving them be and letting them explore and wander.

But this one was different. Oh yes, he was obviously from some other planet and time and race but that was all secondary. It was what he was doing that intrigued me.

As I say, he’d been sitting there since I first saw him, looking east. More specifically, staring in the direction of the towers in the waters of Satori.

No one had done that before.

No one except me.

I descended the stairs to the castle door. I paused a moment to consider my options should there be any trouble. I reached into my pocket to activate the Flash Time Device given me by Professor Wagstaff long ago in Caledon. Should I need to move quickly, the FTD would transport me in a flash to a pre-determined distance and time from wherever and whenever I was at the moment. I usually keep it set to 400 paces, two minutes to the past. I gave a thought to doubling the numbers in this case but left it as it was.

Through the door and out along the bridge from Castle Island to Arrival Island. I walked as quietly as I could until I arrived on the other side. Then, wishing to make myself known, I stepped closer, cleared my throat and said, “Good evening, Sir? May I be of any assistance?”

The being jumped to his feet and turned toward me in one swift move, “What?” His hands were raised slightly in front of him. “Where did you come from?” He said quickly in a voice unlike any I had heard before. Hard to describe it. Thinner rather than deeper. A couple times during our conversation, I thought I heard a slight clicking sound…but that may or may not have been from his voice.

I could see he wasn’t sure of my intentions so I quickly introduced myself, “Welcome to Evergreen. I am Danko Whitfield. I look after these Ages.”

“Ages?” he repeated. Pause. “Ages,” he said again.

“Yes, sir. Four Ages to be precise.”

He stared at me a moment, looking me over. He grunted.

He was green from head to foot. All green. With tentacles, I guess. And scales. Some kind of dragon maybe.

“You are the one I am to talk with,” said the visitor.

“Yes?”

“Yes,” he said, “I am Daniel. Where is this place?”

Hmmm. How to answer that directly?

I told him about Evergreen. About the Ages: Selenitica, Kamar, Tao and Satori. And when I was done, I smiled at the visitor and waited for him to respond.

“Where is this place?” he said again.

Hmmm.

I offered that the complete answer to that question would be much longer than all I had just told him and that I wasn’t fully sure I could explain it anyway.

“That would be a better question for Mr. Oddenfen,” I said.

“He is here?”

“No, not at this time.”

Daniel nodded.

“There is food here?” he asked.

“Oh yes. We have all — well, I’m not sure what kind of food you like…but I’m sure we can find something. Walk with me over to the house across the way, sir.”

I turned and gestured toward Quin’s house but heard the visitor ask, “What have you learned about those?” He was pointing to the towers in the distance.

“As a matter of fact, I have been doing some research, sir. I have a theory.”

I told him about the radio signal and my monitoring of it and about the towers in other Ages. He seemed to understand the concepts. In fact, I got the impression he understood it better than I do.

“From where does this signal emanate? Who sends it?”

I told him I was just about to begin my research on the first question. “The answer to the second question, might never be known,” I said.

(My own belief is that the D’ni put these towers here but Dot Matrix has cautioned me about sharing that opinion publicly. Until there is proof. “We must have solid evidence, Mr. Whitfield,” she has told me several times. She is right, of course.)

“The signal brought me to this place,” Daniel said.

That was unexpected.

“You picked up this signal? Where?” I asked, almost involuntarily.

“That would be difficult to explain” said Daniel. “It would definitely be elsewhere. Very much elsewhere.

“Merely elsewhere?” I asked. “…or probably elsewhen as well?”

Daniel mulled that one over, looking around.

“Probably,” he said.

“And you picked up this signal and followed it?”

“It was not anything I had planned,” said Daniel. “We were trying to get the AI back online..…and the invasive life had run wild and gotten into everything……We were trying to hone in on the signal of the transmitting tower our team set up when we arrived…..we had lost contact with Control and were trying to reestablish it….then everything went black….then we were in this world…..”

It was quite a story. Not that I got all of it but I got the gist.

“– And you found yourself here in Evergreen,” I sort of cut him off as the details were getting more intricate and I was having trouble following along.

“No, sir. I found myself at your Devokan Trust.”

“Oh. I was about to explain about The Trust…”

“Dot Macchi has explained it to me,” said Daniel.

“Oh. She was there…at The Trust headquarters when you arrived?”

“Yes. Dot Macchi explained The Trust and sent me here. Dot Macchi told me you could explain the towers.”

“Dot Matrrix,” I ventured to correct him.

“No, Dot Macchi.”

“I understand, yes. But it’s Dot Matrix now.”

Daniel looked at me, puzzled.

I shrugged. “I dunno. There’s a memo about it. I haven’t read through the mail yet, I just returned here this morning.”

“Dot Mat – rix?” Daniel said slowly.

“Yes.”

He grunted.

“There is coffee here?” Daniel asked.

“Yes. Let’s go over to Mr. Oddenfen’s quarters…”

Daniel interrupted, “Dot Mac…Dot Ma-trix had good coffee. Strong.”

“Yes, Dot makes a good pot of coffee,” I said, as I thought back to her days in Winterfell when I would stop by on my way up to Ebonshire and share coffee with Dot. “…and none of that weak English stuff either,” I continued, “She has it shipped in from elsewhere.”

“And probably elsewhen,” Daniel added. Then he smiled.

“Probably,” I said. I smiled as well.

We walked across the bridge to Garden Island and then over the next bridge to Quin’s Island. Daniel commented on the plants and trees along the way. As he spoke, I casually reached into my pocket and turned off the Flash Time Device. It was clear I would have no need for it.

Inside Quin’s study-retreat, Daniel looked through Quin’s library while I prepared the coffee.

Daniel in Quin's study at Selenitica, Evergreen
Daniel in Quin’s study at Selenitica, Evergreen

He told me a bit about himself and his homeworld, Transgenia. He wasn’t sure exactly how he got to the Devokan Ages and so he wasn’t sure how to get back. But since the radio signal had somehow delivered him here, all he could do was to find out everything he could about that signal, in hopes it would lead him back.

I offered him use of one of the pods in Tao and told him to make himself at home there. Dot had already shown Daniel the towers at Waysmeet. We made plans for me to take him to the tower site in Tao Lia the next day.

It has been quite some weeks since I submitted to The Trust offices, a detailed report of my summer research on the towers and the signal. I also left a copy here in Quin’s study. I had waited for his thoughts on my findings and some direction about how he would like me to continue.

But all I received was a brief note by messenger…

 

Dear Mr. Whitfield, 

Thank you for your extensive efforts on behalf of The Trust regarding the towers. Although, I appreciate your methodology and the considerable time and thought you have given this important matter to arrive at your most interesting theory, I believe it is much too early to draw any conclusions at this time.

Very best wishes,

Quin

 

Well, yeah. But now what?

Without any direction from The Director, I had put my research aside for awhile to tend to business in Winterfell, Dankoville and elsewhere. And elsewhen.

Now I guess it was up to me to decide how to proceed from here. I guess I must go it alone. Well, not exactly alone. At least for the moment, I would be accompanied by little green men. Well, one little green…err…..…dragon maybe?

 

photo credit: Daniel Hoffman

Letter to Ruby O’Degee, Midtown Arts Museum

July 10, 2013

Dear Ms. O’Degee,

Thank you for your letter sent upon receipt of the radio. I am glad to hear you have made a place for it in your collection. As you requested, I am making these notes about this receiving device and how I came to acquire it.

For some time now I have been intrigued by a series of towers, apparently built by the D’ni, and in evidence in several of the Ages that Mr. Oddenfen and The Devokan Trust have been involved in reviving and maintaining. It occurred to me that these towers may be, in fact, the remnants of a communications system. These may be relay towers, used to send some sort of signal from one Age to another.

I have been looking into this matter for The Trust. And, as odd as it may seem, it was necessary to determine whether the signal is still active. Obviously there would be no one broadcasting the signal at this time but that doesn’t mean some program that emits a  signal might not still be running. In the unlikely event that it is, much could potentially be learned from this.

I acquired this radio a couple of months back. I had some business in my native time, the 1950s, and when this business was complete, I was ready for a little R&R. A friend had suggested I spend a week in his summer home as it was the off-season and the area would be quiet. This radio was in his living room and I made much use of it during my stay. It had exceptional sound quality and I enjoyed listening to music programs, evening dramas and comedies and sporting events. Of course, it was a treat to be listening to the programs of the 1950s on a device of that time while actually in the time.

One night, while listening to a ball game, my mind turned to the question of the towers in the Devokan Ages. I realized I would need a wireless set that was built to receive a signal from quite a distance away. I started to laugh at the fact that I just happened to be visiting a time period known for its high-quality radios, built for long-distance listening. As I laughed, the great Mickey Mantle was hitting a home run and the roar of the crowd caused me to turn and look directly at the radio. A light bulb went on in my head. I could use this very radio! I would have called my friend to ask the favor right then and there but he had gone out of the country on business and this was a time when an overseas telephone call was not the everyday occurrence that it became in later decades.

So at the end of my stay, I “borrowed” this radio to bring it to Evergreen and some of the other Devokan Ages for my research. I had every intention of returning the radio on a future visit but when I last heard from my friend, he had sold his summer house, a package deal with all furnishings included, not an unusual arrangement when selling a summer home. The buyer had seen the house without this radio in it and the seller – my friend – had sold everything that was in the house. Neither of them would miss the radio I had “borrowed.” And anyway, they are living in the 1950s, nearly 60 years before this writing.

Once I was done using it for my research, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the radio. I didn’t want keep it and have my friend visit and see it on my table. He is not a professional like me, but more of a hobbyist time traveller. Still he gets to these times now and then.

So when I heard you mention at one of our Devokan Storytellers gatherings, that you were looking for artifacts for your museum, I thought a donation of this item would sort of…get me off the hook.

I am very glad this has all worked out.

Best Regards,

Danko Whitfield

Danko Radio photo

Collecting Them All

After my discovery of a radio wave being transmitted from somewhere unknown and picked up and relayed by the towers in Satori, Evergreen, I had to find the location of the other towers in the Ages of Devokan. I wanted to photograph each of the towers and also see if I could pick up the signal in each of the Ages.

I took the same 1950s wireless set I had used in Evergreen to Shenn Tao’s world and his Age of Tao Lia, where I had already made photographs of the towers. I picked up the signal here without any trouble as I now knew which frequency to monitor.

Upon my return to Evergreen, I was met with a brief note from Dot Macchi in response to my letter of June 27. She told me I could find other towers in the Ages of Waysmeet and in Quin’s reconstituted instance of Tao Lia. But she cautioned me that getting close to them would be difficult.

She did not explain what she meant by that but she didn’t have to, I knew. I had already experienced this phenomenon in Shenn’s Tao Lia. There are three towers in Tao Lia. One is located just off land but the other two are out in open water. Reaching them should not take long by boat. But just a bit offshore is where the difficulty appears.

There is some invisible obstruction. One simply can go no further. I am not a scientist, I’m an explorer, so I cannot prove that what I am about to say is fact. But it appears there is a force field around the towers. Whatever it is, something prevents you from approaching the towers.

With this knowledge in mind, I headed off to Waysmeet.

Towers seen from The Tree Village in Waysmeet, in the Devokan Trust world on Kitely
Towers seen from The Tree Village in Waysmeet, in the Devokan Trust world on Kitely

There are two towers in Waysmeet, off the coast. I photographed them from The Tree Village but I could not get any closer. There is a ferry running these days in Waysmeet but it only goes out on the open water so far. It turns just shy of the force field.

I got off the ferry and stood on the wooden walkway of The Tree Village. I unpacked the radio and tuned in. There once again, is the sound of silence. A signal, no program. I chucked as I thought to myself, “Either the station is not broadcasting any programming or I keep tuning in to ‘The Marcel Marceau Show.'”

My next stop was “the other Tao Lia” that Quin has been able, through his experiments, to bring to the world known as Time Vault. Whether Quin would endorse my use of the phrase ” reconstituted instance” above, I’m not sure. But as a layman, I don’t know another way to explain it to you. It is Tao Lia in the future, so not everything you see is the same as in Shenn’s Tao Lia. In fact, the differences include the towers. In this future instance of Tao Lia, only one tower has survived. It is located off the coast in open water, I could almost reach it by boat. Almost. Damn force field again.

Danko in "the other Tao Lia" in the Time Vault world on Kitely. A single tower can be seen in the distance as one of the giant time spheres enters the picture
Danko in “the other Tao Lia” in the Time Vault world on Kitely. A single tower can be seen in the distance as one of the giant time spheres enters the picture

But the force field does not interfere with the radio waves. Here again, I could easily pick up the silent signal. Once I had, I made a photograph here. My field research on all the known towers was now done.

I went back to Evergreen, to Quin’s study-retreat in Selenitica and left my report and copies of the photographs on his desk. But I just can’t wait for Quin to turn up. Who knows when that might be? This is a major discovery and he must be informed as soon as possible. I would have informed Quin immediately when I first picked up the signal off the towers in Satori last week if I knew how to reach him. Since I did not, I thought it best to gather all the information I could before I tried to contact him. Now I have.

I wonder if Dot knows how to reach him at present?

From My Listening Post

My trip to Winterfell was full of fun. The weekend began with an early Friday event. ’70s Night at Storytellers Pub was a success. The music provided by one of The Steamlands very best DJs, Miss Poppy, was a free-flowing, genre-busting mix of 1970s hits. There were some returning customers as well as some new attendees and the crowd included some dignitaries – both Adm. Beaumont and the Duke of Wolfsbane joined us. And your Ambassador was delighted to escort the lovely Selena, who has embraced Winterfell as her second home.

On Sunday, Selena joined me on Nepenthe Gate to watch the Tall Ships Races on a glorious day for The Realm. A captain called Angellic captured the champion’s trophy in a rather close final heat.

As much as I enjoyed my weekend back home in Winterfell, there was work to do in other worlds.

Monday found me back in Evergreen, eager to resume my investigation of the mysterious towers in Satori. I had left the radio set I brought back from my trip to the mid-20th century in my house up north in Kamar. It was important to be as far away from the towers as I could get to try to pick up any signal they gave. This distance was required to avoid any interference or over-modulation. And yet, I wanted to be close enough to pick up any signal that might be there, even including the possibility of a harmonic signal. If the fundamental frequency relayed by these towers was too low for the radio to pick up, it might still be possible to get a harmonic. Unlikely? Well yes, the entire endeavor was a possible wild goose chase but if I was going to attempt this at all, I should leave no stone unturned.

I spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights on the observation deck roof of my house, slowly – s l o w l y – moving the dial. Listening with the headsets and then without them and then with them again. Nights are chilly in Evergreen and the winds can be strong, so each night I would bring a pot of tea with me. (And I had something a bit stronger standing by for those moments when it became necessary. There were several.)

I had scoured the bands over and over, up and down the dial. There were moments when I thought I had something…but upon further listening on a given frequency, I would realize there was nothing there. The listener log I had created to record any findings was still blank as there was nothing to write down, nothing to take note of. Nothing at all.

On the fourth night, I was ready to give in. “One more hour and that’s it,” I thought. It would be 2 a.m. in the local time and I was weary from sitting in that same position, night after night, listening hard, straining my ears and my brain.

About twenty minutes after I set my deadline, I thought I heard something once again. Slowly, I dialed back to that spot. I zeroed in, a slight turn this way, a slight turn that way. There.

What is that?

Silence came from the radio.

But it wasn’t the silence that had my attention. It was the kind of silence.

“I think I have something!”

I rose from my little wooden chair and got down on my knees and hunched over the radio. I didn’t dare touch that dial.

I cranked the volume all the way up.

Silence. Very loud silence, accompanied by the hum of the radio receiver itself.

“That’s it! I have found something!”

I grabbed for the listener log and quickly wrote down the frequency and the local time. As I did, I said aloud, “Dot, you are not going to believe this!” As if Dot Macchi was sitting there with me.

Had you been sitting there with me, dear reader, you might be thinking I had gone mad. But I had not. No.

This silence coming from my radio was not silence at all. Ever since my meeting with Mr. Hertz in the late 1880s, I have spent countless hours “spininng the dial’ of any radio within my reach. Thus, my ear is well-trained. Dead silence is one thing. But the sound of silence created by a transmitter that is sending a signal but no information or program, is a sound I know

And that was the sound I was picking up on my radio in Kamar. Someone or something is “on the air” to transmit. The fact that they are not actually sending anything to listen to is beside the point. They could, if they wanted to. Or they did at one time. Or… well, there are many possibilities. All I know is, I am picking up a station of some sort, being relayed by those towers in Satori.

Where is that transmission coming from? That I do not know. And I know right now that I may never know. But I must try to find out. Could this be a communications system built by the D’ni? Possibly. Could it have been here before them? Or erected afterward? Also possible. Maybe there was someone before me, an explorer, a researcher, a scientist who was doing the same thing I and my friends at The Devokan Trust are doing – researching what the D’ni left behind. And maybe these researchers were here ages ago (pardon the pun!) and are the ones who created the towers and established the station for their own communications purposes across the Ages, acoss the Worlds. I don’t know. I don’t know. I will try to find out but right now I don’t know much at all.

All I know right now is, someone, somewhere, at sometime put up relay towers. And built a transmitting station and put out a signal to send out some kind of information that is no longer being sent. And for whatever reason, by choice or not…

They left it turned on.

Letter to Dot, June 27

Greetings Ms. Macchi,

I hope this letter finds you well.

I am happy to report we continue to attract a regular flow of visitors to Evergreen. The visitor log shows that mutual friends Mr. Mahogany and Miss Christine were among them recently. Mr. Rotunno visited a while back and made some marvelous photographs.

Have you heard anything from Mr. Oddenfen? He was here last in April as far as I know. I missed him but the caretaker, Mr. Zeplin, met him. He was doing some research in his study and seemed happy with things in Evergreen according to Mr. Zeplin’s note.

My main reason for writing is to tell you I have begun my research into an area I mentioned some time back – The Towers. I am operating under the assumption that they are communications towers. Although I have no further confirmation of my theory than when last we spoke,  I have given the matter much thought. I feel certain the towers are not the work of an artist but a scientist or engineer.

I have recently made another visit to Shenn Tao’s home age on the other world to examine and photograph the towers there. I have also photographed the towers here in Satori. I will bring the photographs to a friend in the 20th century who has expertise in the area of radio telegraphy. I’ve been wondering if these towers might have been used to send code rather than voice.

The towers in Tao Lia on OSgrid
The towers in Tao Lia on OSgrid

To me the oddest thing about the towers has nothing to do with their use. As you know I have some knowledge of communication devices and I’m hopeful we will eventually figure out the whole question of the towers. On the other hand, construction is certainly not my field but Dot, how do they stand there in open water like that? Are they actually floating? Only about five-percent of the tower is under water. From an engineering standpoint, these towers are truly one of the Wonders of the Ages.

The towers in Satori, Evergreen on Kitely
The towers in Satori, Evergreen on Kitely

I have tried my best but have been unable to get the wireless sets that Quin has scattered about here into working order. However, while on business in my native time period, the 1950s, I…err…borrowed a radio from a friend’s summer home (don’t ask) and brought it back with me. I have been using this receiving device the last two nights to try to ascertain if there is an active signal passing through Evergreen. Nothing to report yet but I have really only started the monitoring. If there is a signal being relayed by the Satori towers, this radio should find it. The radios of that period were very well made and their reception capabilities are outstanding. The radio in question has a very wide frequency range which is why I “borrowed” it. Yes, the signal here could be outside the range that I can monitor but this is certainly an excellent device with which to start my research.

Danko investigates the mysterious towers
Danko investigates the mysterious towers

One question I have for you. When we first discussed the Satori and Tao Lia towers and what their purpose might be, you mentioned there are other towers in some of the Ages we know and I did recall seeing others in my travels. Could you send me a list of these Ages so I can visit to examine and photograph those towers as well? Thank you, in advance.

I will be heading off to Winterfell to attend the Tall Ships races on Sunday. It’s good for the Ambassador to get to the bigger events of the Realm. Not much news from Winterfell of late. Filbert was renting your old cabin where I am up in Ebonshire last I knew. Not sure if he’s still in there. That little colony has been all but full recently. I’ll be getting back to Winterfell just in time for an event at my Storytellers Pub tomorrow. It’s ’70s Night. “Play that funky music” and “shake your booty” – that sort of thing. I’ve asked the DJ, Miss Poppy to play something from the 1870s, my home time. I suspect she will.

Tell the group not to worry, I won’t be gone long as I have to keep up with the radio monitoring. I’ll be back in time for the Devokan Storytellers get together on 7 July. Dragon’s Teeth? Is that what Paislee calls it now?

Best Regards,

D Whitfield

Devokan Travels

Several weeks ago – in the midst of a very busy time, with events following rapidly one atop the other in several of the worlds which I visit or reside in, with side visits to some new worlds which I have added to my route – I made a quick trip to an older world (*1) that I had not been to for some time. I was headed to this world as it was once home to a number of the ages overseen by The Devokan Trust.

My reason to visit was my personal interest in these ages but the timing of my decision to make this trip was based on countless reports of political troubles in that world that were echoing across the Metaverse. Fortunately. these troubles have never touched on the Devokan ages even remotely but political battles can be as unpredictable as scientific experiments or exploration to new worlds and so I thought I should make this trip while it was still possible to do so.

It was a difficult journey as my destinations were places that no longer existed – Deepwater and Waysmeet. Quinquifid Oddenfen, scientist and Director of The Trust,  had attempted to move these ages to a more stable world. Certainly, this was a worthy experiment on his part but unfortunately there had been unforeseen complications. The result: the whereabouts of these ages was unknown at the time.

My urge to visit these ages again came from my true fondness for them – they are among the first places I had seen when I went to visit Dot Macchi as her work was taking her to a place called Lost Pages in a world away from the homeworld (*2) of Winterfell, where I first met Dot and later Quin. I looked this up last night in my journal, it was about two-and-a-half years ago that I first went to see these ages. Of course, my first visit to the Tree Village in Waysmeet came many, many years before that, long before I met Dot or Quin or any of the worlds I have travelled over the past six years or so. I first encountered the Tree Village in a world called Myst nearly two decades ago. So to return to it in these times is always a homecoming of sorts.

How does one plan a trip to a place or a time that is no longer where it used to be? With great care, I assure you.

I reviewed my journals, going back over my previous visits and dusted off some old maps that were no longer accurate. And I reviewed my correspondence from Quin and Dot and looked over Quin’s recent reports as well. I was looking for a place or a reference to a place that might get me close to where Deepwater and Waysmeet used to be. As best I could figure, Tao Lia was still in the vicinity as I could find no reference to it being moved or lost or destroyed. Though I would not know for sure until I arrived in that world and even then, there was much figuring on how to make the time jump involved in reaching Tao Lia.

Fortunately, this was one of those times when research and figuring paid off and I eventually found myself in Tao Lia, Shenn Tao’s home age. It was as beautiful and mysterious as I remembered and there were new elements since my last visit. Huge white globes or spheres floated in the air, not far off the ground. Fascinating. I watched them for a while. I got up the nerve to step toward and into one that came close. It moved through me and I through it. I felt nothing nor did I alter its course.

I checked my “live map” to see if Deepwater or Waysmeet or any other remnants of Devokan ages were nearby but I was surrounded by vast ocean. This was pretty much what I expected. I looked about me and saw a linking book and familiar small, blue spheres – passage ways to other ages. I found my way to three of them…all beautiful, all mysterious…but none were the ages I was looking for. I was not surprised. as these are certainly the first places Quin would have looked once his experiment went awry. Looking again at the live map, I could see that I had never really left Tao Lia. Apparently these additional ages’ existence was a result of the “layering” I have heard Dot refer to many times.

I did take my time, exploring and linking among these ages. One link took me to a place I am familiar with. It is known in Shenn’s world as The Flying Island and is the original instance of the place I know as the Sky Garden, located high above Kamar in Evergreen, the place I watch over for The Devokan Trust in another, more stable, world (*3).

I used the communication system in Shenn’s world to leave him a message. We have never met but as I host three of his ages back in Evergreen, I felt obliged to contact him and thank him for his creations.

Some days passed and I was at a gathering of the Devokan Storytellers group in Curiosity at which Dot told us that Quin had successfully brought Deepwater and Waysmeet to our more stable world. He also was able to reconstitute Touchstone and Skysong as well and bring all four ages together in a grouping named for The Devokan Trust. Dot did not have the details of this latest experiment, just that it had been successful. I wondered whether Quin had briefed her on the matter or if she had found this information on her own.

Quin has not been back to Evergreen for quite some time now. The last time I saw him was in Future Past last fall. As I mentioned, my travels have taken me to a number of worlds in recent months and I have not been able to get back to Evergreen much myself save for dropping in for a brief check from time to time. At the first of the year, I hired a caretaker, a Mr. Zeplin, to link in twice a month to tidy up and refresh our supplies should Quin need a break from his work and head here to his study-retreat in Selenitica. I did stop in quickly today to transfer payment to Mr. Zeplin and to check on things. The visitor log showed a lot of activity as Evergreen attracts explorers, tourists and the simply curious. It was nice to sit in my room in the castle’s Observatory and look out over Kamar, Tao and Satori as I wrote this journal entry.

I walked around to Quin’s retreat to make sure all was well. Just inside the doorway was a courier’s satchel. I knew Quin had not been here so I assumed it was incoming rather than outgoing. I picked it up and carried it over to his desk, where Mr. Zeplin had neatly stacked Quin’s incoming reports, though they were few and far between. I opened the satchel to find it bore Quin’s latest report, dated 1 April. I scanned it and my eyes were drawn to the final item, Quin has asked Dot to return from her sabbatical and resume her work for The Trust. I pumped my first in the air and hollered, “Yes!” I was never sure whether this sabbatical was Dot’s idea or Quin’s and I had chosen not to try to find out. But Quin’s note made me hopeful that tempers between the two had cooled to a more moderate level. I look forward to seeing Dot at the next Storytellers gathering on Sunday. I expect she’ll be in high spirits, ready to return to the work she loves. Though it’s not as if she has not kept busy during this time. She has been staying at The Trust’s Retreat in the mountains and devoting her time to a new project, a cataloging of years’ worth of journals and correspondence related to the Trust…to compile, in one place, an archive for current and future scholars and students. I have already had a look at it and plan to make use of it myself. I do hope Quin realizes what a valuable project this is and rewards her appropriately.

I went back up to the castle and sat for a bit but I had to be off. I must return home to Winterfell for awhile and then off to business in other worlds. I have been so busy I have not had a moment to rest but the next time I do, it is my intention to do so in Waysmeet. To just sit and take in its beauty and not think about politics or science or exploring or time travel or the items on those To Do lists I now have scattered in several worlds around the Metaverse.

 

*1 OSgrid *2 Second Life *3 Kitely

To visit the ages mentioned as well as others, go to Kitely’s Public Worlds page and Search: Devokan